Triumphant Carrot: The Persistence of Still Life
B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries
This exhibition explores the traditional genre of still life and how it is a sustained practice within contemporary visual art making. The number of artists and works is large for the exhibition spaces of the Contemporary Art Gallery, and yet it seems small in relation to the subject. The quantity of works reflects this genre’s continued importance in current art production and discourse, and is conceptually tied to conventional formal aspects of still life, gathering together many objects for contemplation in a constructed setting.
Many of the artworks in this exhibition were chosen because they stick closely to the familiar conventions and typical subject matter of still life. The first part of the title of this exhibition is an appropriation of one of Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s photographs from their Equilibres series made in the mid 1980s. The triumph of the carrot is linked to the success of still life, as well as the genre's formal properties, namely its use of humble objects. The second part of the title is linked to a question first posed by art historian Thomas Crow, who questioned how an archaic and hierarchical system such as the genres can still be important for understanding contemporary art. In bringing together this group of works that spans generations and crosses mediums, the CAG traces the persistence of still life, in an attempt to understand how it operates differently now than it has in the past, examining the current circumstances and naming some particularities.